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Asian-Americans in Young Adult Fiction Booklist

May 6, 2007

When we were chatting, we tried to come up with a list of books with Asian-American protagonists.

Gayle: Fresh Off the Boat, Yell-Oh Girls, the Samurai Girl series, the Flirt series, Nothing But the Truth (and a Few White Lies), Mismatch, Name Me Nobody.

Trisha: Also A Step from Heaven, which I didn’t finish. And Monsoon Summer by Mitali Perkins and Ask Me No Questions by Marina Budhos. Which is another thing we can talk about. I mean, when I think of Asian-American books/characters, it’s the East Asian ones who come to mind, not Indian subcontinent.*

Gayle: You mean like Born Confused by Desai.

Trisha: Yeah! I totally forgot about that one.

Gayle: Even defining Asian Americans gets pretty tough.

Jolene: True.

So, how would you define “Asian-American” and “Asian-American Young Adult literature”? Are Filipino-Americans Hispanic or Asian? How long do you have to live in America to be Asian-American? I included Tangled Threads on the following booklist, even though it’s subtitled A Hmong Girl’s Story. Should it be on the list?

And what titles did we miss in this booklist of YA books with Asian-American or part-Asian protagonists?

Hmm, this is more books than I thought. But if you omit the books about hapa kids and immigrants, how many are left?

* I blame this on the fact that the three of us are Japanese-American and Hawaii isn’t exactly known for having a large Indian-American population.

** I feel slightly embarrassed putting this on the list, but it is the first YA book I remember reading that had an Asian-American protagonist.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. May 6, 2007 8:00 pm

    Forgot one!

    Now and Zen by Linda Gerber from the S.A.S.S series.

  2. May 9, 2007 10:53 pm

    Millicent Min, Girl Genius and Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time by Lisa Yee!

  3. Gayle Fair permalink
    October 24, 2007 5:11 am

    Is there another Gayle Fair?

  4. April 15, 2013 8:13 am

    Julie Kagawa’s THE IMMORTAL RULES features an Asian-American vampire!!!

    Also Melinda Lo’s ADAPTATION has a Chinese-American (boy) love interest.


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